Former NBA commissioner David Stern underwent emergency surgery for a brain hemorrhage Thursday, according to the sports league.
“NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage earlier today for which he underwent emergency surgery,” a statement from the NBA read. “Our thoughts and prayers are with David and his family.”
Stern, 77, collapsed inside Brasserie 8 ½ restaurant in New York City, according to ABC7 editor Morena Basteiro. New York City Fire Department responded to a call of a cardiac arrest at the French eatery around 2 p.m., the journalist said in a tweet.
A security guard at the building where the restaurant is located told CNN a defibrillator on Stern, but he appeared unresponsive when first responders arrived. Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Stern was rushed to a Manhattan hospital, where he sought treatment for a brain hemorrhage.
His current condition is not clear.
Stern is the NBA’s longest-serving commissioner, having succeeded Larry O’Brien’s position at the league in 1984.
He announced his retirement in 2012 and formally stepped down from his role two years later, having served as commissioner of the NBA for a total of 30 years.
“It’s been a great run. The league is in, I think, terrific condition,” Stern said in during NBA’s Board of Governors meeting in 2012, according to ESPN. “I’d like to think I did an adequate job. But one of the things I did best was provide a successor. I’m not going anyplace in the next 15 months, but this gives us the opportunity to have a very smooth transition.”
Stern was replaced by his deputy commissioner, Adam Silver, who is the current commissioner of the NBA.
He was a polarizing figure during his tenure. However, one of Stern’s biggest accomplishments was aiding the creation of the 1992 Olympic men’s basketball team — affectionately dubbed as the “Dream Team” — consisting of basketball legends like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, and Scottie Pippen.
The team was American Olympic team featuring active professional players from the NBA. The team won a gold medal during the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.
During his tenure, Stern saw the relocation of six NBA franchises and the creation of seven new NBA teams. He represented franchise governors through four NBA lockouts, as well as implemented a mandatory dress code for players.
He also oversaw the creation of the WNBA and the NBA’s G League.
Stern was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.
Following the news of Stern’s hospitalization, Magic Johnson — who also played in the 1992 Dream Team — tweeted his thoughts and prayers for the sports legend.
“Join Cookie and I in praying for my good friend who helped save my life, former NBA Commissioner David Stern,” he wrote. “He suffered a brain hemorrhage and had to have emergency surgery.”
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